How About Those Pirates…
The Pittsburgh Pirates endured another losing season in 2010 (18th straight and counting), fired yet another field manager in John Russell, tied the 1963 New York Mets for the worst road record for a single season, and drew 1,613,399 fans to P&C Park, the second lowest total in the National League, and still fashion themselves as a major league franchise.
Russell lasted three seasons in his first big league managerial stint and was never able to find the key to get out of the cellar in the National League Central.Â In his three seasons, his Pirates lost 95, 99, and 105 big league games.Â I guess you can say he saved his best for first.
In a team press release, Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington tried to put a positive spin on things.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for JR, both personally and professionally. He took on a difficult challenge, overseeing a major overhaul in the make-up of our team,” Huntington said. “JR is a quality baseball man and a good friend. He put his heart and soul into this difficult challenge and was tremendously committed to the organization and the plan we implemented three years ago.â€
Not sure if Russell will get another opportunity to manage a big league club, but again Iâ€™ll say it, I feel for the inexperienced managers who have to make their bones with clubs who barely act like they are running a major league franchise.Â Thereâ€™s no way a first-tier organization employs someone who couldnâ€™t be a miracle worker in Quadruple-A.
The Pirates went 17-64 on the road this season with nine of those wins coming before the end of May.Â The club went through losing streaks of five (twice), six, 14, and 17 games at one point or another.Â Getting away from all of those pesky distractions at home didnâ€™t go over so well this season.
Pittsburgh did manage one three-game winning streak on the road in 2010, winning the final two games in Milwaukee on April 27 and 28 and then winning the series opener in Los Angles against the Dodgers on April 29.
After pulling out a win at Cincinnati on May 25, the Pirates went on to drop their next 17 in a row in the enemiesâ€™ confines.
I am trying to find out if the rumor is true that other National League clubs are looking into jacking up prices for when the Pirates come to town in 2011 because they can almost guarantee their own fan base of wins for those series.
If you are waiting for the good news with all the bad numbers that you just digested, there is none.Â Oh wait, the Pirates did manage to win five of their nine meetings with the Cubs at Wrigley this past season.Â Maybe thatâ€™s why Lou decided it was time to say goodbye while the season was still in progress; his club couldnâ€™t close at home against the Pirates.
Somewhere, Dave Dameshek is crying into someoneâ€™s adult beverageâ€”maybe even his own.
Maybe itâ€™s not all bad.Â I spoke with someone in the Pirates organization this week, who I trust, and was told that Torey Lovullo could be the Pirates next pilot.Â I am already on record and counted as â€œINâ€ Lovulloâ€™s corner when it comes to being named as a big league skipper this offseason.
Huntington and Lovullo both worked in the Cleveland organization at the same time.Â Same goes for Eric Wedge, who interviewed for the Pirates opening on Tuesday.Â Wedge is another strong candidate and a popular candidate elsewhere too, having already interviewed with the Cubs and Blue Jays.
Whatâ€™s on 2nd: Seamheads.com Radio Hour on Blog Talk Radioâ€¦
Michael Lynch and I are looking forward to continuing our weekly Whatâ€™s On 2nd: Podcast, which airs live every Monday night at 9:00 p.m. EST on www.seamheads.com.Â If you canâ€™t catch the show live, itâ€™s available on iTunes and on the website following live broadcast.Â Remember the best advertising is word of mouth advertising, especially on our budget!
Not to pat ourselves on the back too hard, but we have landed some outstanding guests since the show started back in the spring and we are looking forward to keeping the conversation going during the offseason.Â Give a listen.
Are the Yankees paying for their popularity by having to play all night games (Game One, Game Two, and Game 5 â€“if needed) in Minnesota?
For me, the Red Sox are losing a pretty classy guy in Mike Lowell.Â I did several phone interviews with him during my time in the satellite radio world and he was always great.
One time I caught up with him when the Red Sox were in Baltimore and I thanked him for the couple of times that he came on with me.Â He told me that no one had ever thanked him for something like that before and we talked for a few minutes.Â Hereâ€™s hoping that he stays involved in some capacity going forward.
Just in case you missed it, Oliver Perez walked in the winning run with the bases loaded in the 14th inning and took the loss in the Mets regular season finale.Â I am not sure if thatâ€™s a little funny or a lot sad.
Mets fans can look forward to watching Metsâ€™ Classics on the clubâ€™s television network during the offseason, their first realistic opportunity to watch winning baseball in 2010.
Steve Lenox is a sports broadcaster, who currently serves as an update anchor with 1050 ESPN Radio in New York city. Steve also works with lexy.com, serving as a lexycaster and covering the New York Jets, New York Yankees, UConn Huskies basketball, and Major League Baseball.